Starting Point finished the week live from the CNN Grill in Austin, TX where the South by Southwest festival was starting. The playlist was its typically diverse self, but with a little bit of a country twang. The show opened with CNN business correspondent Ali Velshi’s pick “Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex. The folksy song has its own popular line dance, but don’t worry if you missed the show, Soledad and the panelists didn’t get up and dance.
Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of the website Reddit, brought Jay Z’s “Moment of Clarity” from his personal playlist. That song was on “The Black Album” back in 2003, which was notoriously promoted as the rapper’s final studio record (only to be followed by “Kingdom Come” in 2006 and three more since then).
Hajj Flemings, who was featured in Soledad’s “Black in America 4” documentary, chose a song from Lincoln Brewster, a Christian musician and pastor. “The Power of Your Name” opens with the sound of Brewster’s unborn son’s heartbeat.
Austin resident Jerry Jeff Walker made an appearance on the playlist with his hit “Mr. Bojangles,” chosen by Doug Brinkley. Walker holds a birthday bash for himself every year in Austin at the Paramount Theater (3/31) and the next day at the Gruene Theater in Gruene (4/1). The second show is already sold out.
The CNN Grill has its own playlist. Today, the restaurant-turned-studio played “Analog or Digital” by Wildlife Control, an unconventional band made up of two brothers that don’t have a record label and live on opposite coasts.
Carlos Diaz was in New York bringing you the headlines, but his playlist was featured in Austin. He chose “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida, a song that’s on its way to becoming a sports anthem. It is the unofficial victory song of New York Rangers, introduced the New York Giants at City Hall following their Super Bowl win and was performed at NBA All Star game, to name a few.
Another Jay Z song was played by Alexis Ohanian. “On to the Next One,” from Jay Z’s Blueprint 3 album, played at the CNN Grill and was the single that won the rapper his 13th Grammy.
Representative Mary Bono Mack’s first pick was “Listen to the Music” by the Doobie Brothers. The song peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #11 in November 1972.
SXSW is celebrating Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday during the festival with a panel of speakers, and so Doug Brinkley chose to play the American classic “This Land is Your Land.”
The CNN Grill played another song that’s generating a lot of hype, “This Head I Hold” by Electric Guest. The music blogs have been writing a lot about this band, whose album Mondo comes out in April.
Arguably one of the most popular songs ever was requested by Representative Mary Bono Mack. “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey has been covered on a number of television shows, including on the cartoon “Family Guy,” when Peter Griffin and his friends perform a drunken karaoke version (probably not too different from scenes in karaoke bars across America).
Representative Mary Bono Mack also chose “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner. The song was originally recorded by the band Creedence Clearwater Revival; both versions of the song won Grammys.
Mimi Swartz, editor of Texas Monthly, played “Ya Se Va” by Los Lobos. The song comes from the 11th album of Los Lobos, an American Chicano rock band from East Los Angeles, California.
Regular panelist Farai Chideya was in Austin and brought with her “Europa and the Pirate Twins” by Thomas Dolby. The song was on the album “The Golden Age of Wireless,” which was released five separate times.
Carlos Diaz played “Rock Me, Amadeus” by German singer Falco. The song was ranked by VH1 as one of the 100 greatest songs of the 1980s and one of the greatest one-hit wonders.
Ali Velshi played another country song, “Deep in the Heart of Texas” by Gene Autry. The famous singing cowboy sang the song the film in “Heart of the Rio Grande” in 1942.